But Belarus is not moving Lukashenko’s way. As the nation urbanizes, his elderly, rural support dwindles. This spring, peace and prosperity, his justification for power, is vaporizing.
Outside the Minsk courthouse, Belarussians line up at exchange shops, fearing that last week’s 50 percent devaluation of the national currency is only the beginning. This week, according to the state statistics office, 15 percent of the nation’s workforce was put on leave because factories did not have access to hard currency to import materials.
No longer an “island of peace,” Minsk suffered a mysterious terrorist bombing in the capital’s subway system earlier this month. Exploding at rush hour, the bomb killed 14 and wounded 202.